Thursday, October 28, 2010

#420 Larry Jackson

#420 Larry Jackson
Is "Larry Jackson" the most ordinary name of any player in this set? Ron Reed, Charlie Smith, and Bob Miller, to name a few, would certainly give him a run for his money. But he certainly wasn't an ordinary man.

Fun facts about Larry Jackson:

-Born in Nampa, ID, Larry attended Boise State University and signed with the Cardinals in 1951.

-In 1952, he dominated the Class C California League with a 28-4 record for the Fresno Cardinals. He had a 2.85 ERA and struck out 351 batters in 300 innings to take home the league's MVP award.

-St. Louis took their time with Jackson, promoting him to the majors in 1955 at age 24. He did not become a full-time member of the starting rotation until his fifth season, but by then he was already a two-time All-Star.

-The aforementioned All-Star seasons were 1957 (15-9, 3.47 ERA) and 1958 (13-13, 3.68).

-His best season with the Cards was 1960, when he posted an 18-13 record and a 3.48 ERA and completed 14 of his league-leading 38 starts. He was also chosen to the All-Star team for a third time.

-Larry was traded to the Cubs for the 1963 season, and received a fourth All-Star nod as he compiled a career-best 2.55 ERA in spite of a 14-18 record for the seventh-place club.

-Jackson received credit for nearly one-third of the Cubs' 76 wins in 1964, leading the majors with 24 victories against just 11 losses. He completed 19 of 38 starts and his 3.14 ERA was the lowest on the team. He finished...second in Cy Young voting, as there was only one award given for all of MLB and it went to the Angels' Dean Chance (20-9, 1.65 ERA, 11 shutouts). Hardly seems fair.

-He had the rare and dubious distinction of losing 20 games a year after winning 20, as the Cubs slipped to 72 wins in 1965 and Larry's ERA jumped to 3.85, leaving him with a rocky 14-21 mark.

-Larry spent the following three seasons with the Phillies, doing some of his best work in his mid-30s (2.95 cumulative ERA). Following the 1968 season, he was drafted by the new Montreal club but chose to retire. In 14 seasons he won 194 games (a record for a pitcher who never played on a pennant winner), lost 183, completed 149, and had a 3.40 ERA.

-He stayed busy after hanging up his spikes, making his mark back in Boise. He was a sportswriter, an insurance agent and lobbyist for paper manufacturers, and a four-term member of the Idaho State Legislature. He died of cancer in 1990 at age 59.
#420 Larry Jackson (back)


  1. I think the measure of an mundane career is not having any one game worth linking to. ;-)

  2. I was curious whether Larry was involved in the notorious Cubs-Cardinals deal involving Lou Brock, but he wasn't. The Cubs did get Fergie Jenkins for him in '66, among others. Not bad.

  3. And may I add Larry Jackson had a Rawlings glove -- kid's size -- with his name on it. It was my first glove (age 9), and it was 1965 I do believe. I just right now took it out of the drawer, and it's doing great! About four years ago, I caught a foul pop with the ol' glove in the stands at the park today known as AT&T!!

    Good to see Larry Jackson's card, thanks!

  4. Bob - what can I say? His career as a whole was so interesting that I didn't feel the need to dig up individual games. ;)

    Doug - Yeah, the Cubs were certainly on both ends of the trading spectrum in those years.

    Steven - Thanks for sharing that memory! My first glove was a Catfish Hunter hand-me-down from my dad. It held up pretty well too!

  5. I had a Mel Stottlemyre glove from about age 8 - 11, until after a bike ride home from one game, my rear-mounted basket was empty! (Must have crossed over the bumpy trolley tracks too fast.)

  6. I wonder how much a guy like Jackson--a solid, but not great pitcher--would make in today's game. It would be plenty. I bet he thought about that too after free agency came into effect.

  7. Jim - That's a shame. If you replaced it, whose glove came next?

    Marc - If he'd been around to see contracts like the ones recently handed out to Carlos Silva and Jeff Suppan, he probably would have flipped!